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>Israel Faxx
>JN May 14, 1998, Vol. 6, No. 91

Syrian Scuds Target Israel

Israel Faxx News Service

Britain's "Foreign Report" says in its current issue that Syria's Scuds are moving south. According to an Israeli military intelligence source, Syria has recently moved two units of Scud-C missiles from the region of Aleppo in the north to the vicinity of the capital, Damascus. The Scuds are for the first time targeting the Israeli nuclear reactor in Dimona, all the Israeli airfields and most of the main cities.

With help of Russian experts, the Syrians have modified the warheads of these missiles so that they are much more accurate and capable of carrying not only conventional high explosive chemical cluster bombs, the source adds. Having almost completed their missile program, the Syrians now regard it as their response to Israel's nuclear weapons and as their non-nuclear deterrent.

Albright, Netanyahu Meet in Washington

By Ron Pemstein (VOA-State Department)

Secretary of State Madeleine Albright met Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu at his downtown Washington hotel in an effort to see if a formula can be found for beginning permanent status talks with the Palestinians for the West Bank and Jerusalem.

They met in the early afternoon privately to see if Israel can agree to the American ideas -- which include an Israeli troop withdrawal from 13 percent more territory in the West Bank. Albright has been urging Israel to take the step to meet the Palestinian needs before the permanent peace talks can begin. Israel has resisted, saying the territory endangers defense of Jewish settlements in the West Bank.

Arabs Mark "The Catastrophe"

By Al Pessin (VOA-Jerusalem)

Palestinians are planning protest marches throughout Gaza and the West Bank Thursday to mark the 50th anniversary of the creation of Israel on land they believe should be their own. Organizers say they hope to mobilize 1 million people.

The Voice of Palestine radio station has been broadcasting a series of emotional readings, set to patriotic music, to mark the 50th anniversary of what Palestinians call "Al-Naqba," the catastrophe. One such poem speaks about 50 years, 50 graves, 50 flowers, 50 prisoners, and so on. In another, the announcer muses about a life of no bullets, no victims, no blood, no aggression, no occupation. There also are pledges that those who have died for the Palestinian cause will not have died in vain.

It is an emotional time for Palestinians, 50 years after the United Nations voted to create Jewish and Palestinian states, and then the Palestinian state was not created when Arab armies lost the war they launched against the Jewish state. The Palestinian media has been full of reminiscences of forced marches, village evacuations, lost fortunes, and long years in refugee camps.

And Palestinian legislator Marwan Barghouti, who is one of the organizers of Thursday's protests, says the feelings are heightened because of the deadlock in the peace process.

"The people are very frustrated in these days, under these circumstances, after this position from the Israeli government and they are ready to go to this kind of demonstration or something like that. But our aim is to organize a peaceful rally."

Barghouti and his colleagues have organized marches and rallies in all the autonomous Palestinian cities and in the Gaza Strip. They will culminate with a moment of silence during which all work in the Palestinian areas is to come to a halt. There will also be a speech by Palestinian leader Yasir Arafat and a declaration of Palestinian rights read by poet Mahmoud Darwish.

It will be, as might be expected, much different from Israel's 50th anniversary celebrations two weeks ago, which involved singing, dancing and fireworks.

Jewish Serial Stabber Suspected in Arab Death

Israel Faxx Staff report

Israeli police suspect a Jewish nationalist stabbed to death a 51-year-old Arab Wednesday in an ultra-Orthodox Jewish neighborhood of Jerusalem. Detectives believe the attacker was avenging the stabbing and killing of Jews by suspected Palestinian militants in recent months. The stabbing, was the sixth in the Beit Yisrael neighborhood and adjacent Mea Shearim in about three months and the first of the six knifings to prove fatal. Last week a Jewish seminary student was stabbed to death by suspected Palestinian militants in the walled Old City of East Jerusalem.

Israeli, Palestinian Historians Seek Common Ground

Israel Faxx Staff Report

Israeli and Palestinian historians met in Paris Wednesday to seek common ground between wildly divergent views of what happened when the first Arab-Israeli war erupted 50 years ago this week. The central question was why up to 800,000 Palestinians left their homes during the fighting. Although the historians quickly disagreed on reasons for the exodus, they hailed the importance of their meeting, possibly the first public one of its kind.

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